Sunday, December 23, 2012

Parking App Gap

During this years Midnight Madness celebration in Ellicott City, I gave the new “smart” parking system a test run.

It failed.

In fairness at least part of the blame could be user error based on my lack of familiarity with the system. The main problem however, was pointed out in this story by Randall Stross in The New York Times.

“Smart-parking apps aren't as useful as might be expected for drivers seeking open spots. When a parking space is vacated, there is a short delay before a sensor’s signal moves through the wireless network, reaches the centralized system and finally arrives on a driver’s phone. But if other cars are circling, even a 30-second or one-minute wait can be too long.”

That would seem to be particularly true during a period of high demand such as Midnight Madness. After our initial failure to harness the apps power to locate an open space, we simply headed up the hill to Parking Lot F by the Court House where we found plenty of avilable spaces. Even after the new pay system becomes operational on January 1st, the spaces in this parking lot will remain free.
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